Preview and postgame sections for the 2009-10 season here.
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OSU coach Urban Meyer meets with the media at his first weekly press conference August 27, 2012 ScoutingPennsylvania
OSU receiver Philly Brown meets with the media on Monday August 27, 2012 ScoutingPennsylvania
OSU center Corey Linsley meets with the media on Monday August 27, 2012 ScoutingPennsylvania
Freshman defensive end Noah Spence will emerge as a rising star on the defensive side of the ball
I really believe that Spence would be good enough to start for most teams in the Big Ten as a true freshman from day one. Ohio State's defensive line is just so good that Spence will not be able to start but he will see plenty of playing time. He is just a player that has taken like a fish to water and it will be hard for the coaches not to get him out there in the rotation.
Ben Axelrod - Lead Team Writer
Freshman defensive back Najee Murray will emerge as a rising star on the defensive side of the ball
At the Big Ten media days in Chicago, Urban Meyer expressed a desire to try Murray at the very important 'pivot' position on the offensive side of the ball. However, after just one week of camp, Meyer admitted that he had ultimately decided against trying Murray on offense, because his talent was too good to take away from defense.
The fact that Meyer was unwilling to try Murray at one of the most important positions in his offense tells you all you need to know about the Steubenville native's talents on defense. With the ability to play both safety and cornerback, Murray should find himself on the field immediately in his freshman season, and he's also looked good as a punt returner throughout the Buckeyes' fall camp.
Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst
Freshman defensive end Noah Spence will emerge as a rising star on the defensive side of the ball
The choice on defense was much more difficult but by all accounts Spence has had a monster fall camp and should see a ton of playing time this season. While everyone expects senior Nathan Williams to be full-go this fall, that is still a fairly unpredictable situation and Spence gives the Buckeyes an explosive edge rusher, one of the few areas on defense where the Buckeyes don't have an abundance of riches.
Jeremy Birmingham - Team Writer
Freshman defensive back Devan Bogard will emerge as a rising star on the defensive side of the ball
With a group of very talented incoming freshman on the defensive side of the ball, the choice for breakout defensive freshman will likely end with the words Spence or Adolphus Washington uttered by most, and with good reason. Spence and Washington are perhaps as talented as any incoming freshman defensive lineman at Ohio State in the last decade, and maybe even longer. Spence brings a pure end rusher to a Buckeye defense in need of elite speed off the edge, and Washington's size and speed combination could be a nightmare for interior lineman around the Big Ten.
However, my choice for breakout defensive freshman is the former Cleveland Glenville safety Bogard, who will look to continue the tradition of Tarblooder safeties at Ohio State following in the footsteps of Donte Whitner, Jermale Hines and current Buckeye Christian Bryant. The Buckeyes have talent at safety, but certainly are not as deep in that spot as they are along the defensive line, and Bogard - the first Buckeye freshman to lose their freshman "stripe" this summer - has impressed the staff with his dedication to his teammates and his desire to get better every day. If that trend continues - or if Bryant struggles like he did a bit a year ago - Bogard might get a chance to make a serious impression when it matters the most: on the playing field.
Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player
Freshman defensive lineman Adolphus Washington will emerge as a rising star on the defensive side of the ball
Washington is currently playing behind starter, Johnathan Hankins at defensive tackle. He is a terrific pass rusher and is learning daily at his new defensive tackle position. He has the size, strength and speed to dominate. He will be on the field consistently and I believe will end up OSU's defensive freshman of the year...
Grant making presence felt in sophomore season August 25, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - A season ago, Doran Grant was just another defensive back on the Ohio State roster, only seeing playing time when the Buckeyes' special teams unit was called upon- a far cry from the expectations that were leveled on the former four-star recruit when he committed to spend his college career in Columbus.
Entering his sophomore season, the St. Vincent-St. Mary high school product now finds himself in the thick of Ohio State's cornerback rotation, and was even listed as a co-starter at the position entering fall camp. By the end of fall camp, Grant was still taking snaps with the Buckeyes' starters, and figures to be an integral part of the Ohio State defense, regardless of if it's him or co-starter Travis Howard starting opposite Bradley Roby on Sept. 1.
"I don't see any of it as a battle. I hope you guys can appreciate the fact that if you're going to play at the highest level, you're going to have to have more than two corners," OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said. "Corners can't play 75 snaps a game. You really need four. They've got to be able to be out there and be fresh and be rested and ready to go. So to me, we have three ones."
Grant admitted that at times during his freshman season, he felt lost, but he's now made a natural progression that allows him to be mentioned in the same breath as Roby, the Buckeyes' No. 1 corner, and Howard, a fifth-year senior.
"I just feel like I actually know what I'm doing. Last year, I had an idea about coverages and everything, but I didn't know how difficult it would be, like the transition from high school," Grant said. "I learned what I'm doing now and I'm more comfortable. I just gotta keep getting better."
Despite his four-star status coming out of high school and being one of the more highly touted defensive players in Ohio State's 2011 recruiting class, Grant said that he wasn't frustrated by his lack of consistent playing time a year ago.
"I know I had to get better and it wasn't about the stars coming in," Grant said. "It was just about me developing as a college football player."
After recording just six tackles in Ohio State's first 12 games of 2011, Grant said that light went off for him as the Buckeyes prepared for their Gator Bowl battle with Florida. No longer concerned with learning the playbook, the 5-foot-11, 188-pounder said he was finally able to play at a speed that he was accustomed to.
"You have an idea at like the end of your freshman year so you kind of get that start and just keep building after that," Grant said. "You play a little faster. You're not thinking as much. You can react better."...
Finally playing at full speed, Grant feels as though he can play a major role in getting the Ohio State playing at the level its accustomed to. "At times, if you look at the stats, it really didn't add up," Grant said. "We know how we did last year, we know we gotta come back strong this season."...
Talk a while with Ohio State football team nutritonist and you'll discover her job goes a little deeper than just shoving large amounts of food at big football players. Source: Columbus Dispatch
The Ohio State sophomore has now been through the grind once and failed to meet the outsized expectations that come with signing as perhaps the top prize in the 2011 recruiting class. Grant still has those impressive physical tools that originally generated all that buzz, and in some ways he's improved them. But he learned the hard way it will take more than that to reach his potential and become the anchor the Buckeyes need at middle linebacker...
"A year ago I just came in wanting to earn a spot just like any other kid, but I just didn't show it," Grant said. "I talked about it, but I didn't show it.
"This year, it's kind of different."
It's a big leap to go from where he was a season ago to a projected starting spot in the heart of the Ohio State defense, particularly given the importance of his position, the responsibilities defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is handing him and the lack of depth overall at linebacker.
But Grant took over that role with an impressive spring, passing a returning senior in the process even before Storm Klein's dismissal. And even without much previous experience of his own, Grant has tried to carry himself like a veteran and set an example for a bunch of young linebackers.
That's led to better relationships with his teammates, a greater appreciation for practice that Grant doesn't hide and, thanks to mutually beneficial study sessions with his training-camp roommate, a clearer understanding of the defense and his role in it.
"I've really just stayed in my playbook, just doing the things I'm supposed to do," Grant said...
The coaching staff has made it well known it needs a changed Grant, and that message seems to have sunk in...
"Every night with Camren Williams, we hit the playbook for about 15 minutes just so we can get a feel for what we went over the last few days or the new install we've got to put in, so when he gets in, he knows what to do and he can run around and knock heads off. I'm at that point now where I just I react, and it's kind of like I want to just go, go, go."
The Buckeyes are certainly planning to turn Grant loose and are counting on him...But the issue a year ago wasn't whether or not Grant had the tools to give it a go defensively, it was whether or not he knew where he should be doing it...
"He's one of those guys that I promise you I'll lay my head at night on my pillow knowing that he's going to give me everything he's got," Fickell said. "You know, if you're going to be there as an inside backer, that's a leadership role. You have to have confidence in what you're doing...
By now, Grant should be used to being the center of attention. The next step is proving he belongs there...
A special message from Coach Meyer to the students of The Ohio State University:
This is your head coach, Urban Meyer. I can't wait to see you all on Saturday, September 1st, for our home opener against Miami (Ohio). This video will take you through the details of a new tradition we would like for you to join us in. Together, we will create an atmosphere unlike anything college football has ever seen.
Bold predictions on the season August 23, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - The football season is only a little bit more than a week away and it can't come soon enough for any college football fan. The Buckeyes would be one of the favorites in the Big Ten this season if they were eligible to win the league and move on, but that doesn't mean that this team still can't be quite successful.
Each season the staff at BuckeyeGrove.com brings at least one bold prediction to the table. Sometimes we hit on them and other times we reach too far. That doesn't mean we are going to stop and as a staff we all have our top 'bold prediction' for the upcoming season.
Kevin Noon - Publisher Ohio State will lead the Big Ten in sacks
Last season the Buckeyes were right in the middle of the pack when it came to sacks as a team with 1.77 per game, but let's all be honest, it felt like a lot less as the Buckeyes struggled to generate much of a pass rush with the front four.
John Simon led the way with seven while Johnathan Hankins, Michael Bennett and Ryan Shazier each had three. The issues is highlighted even more by the fact that Ohio State gave up 46, twice as many as the 23 that the team generated.
Well that will be over in 2012 with one of the deepest defensive lines in recent memory. Simon, Hankins and Garrett Goebel have all had a great fall camp and the team is hopeful that Nathan Williams will be back for the season. Add to that a two-deep that a talented group of freshmen joining the likes of Bennett and Joel Hale among others will lead to a rosy outlook. And even if the defensive line is not able to do it all on their own, the strength of the line will open up opportunities for the back seven to have success on the blitz as the line occupies the blockers up front.
Michigan State led the way with 44 total sacks over the year and Illinois had the lead per game with 3.15 per game. Look for the Buckeyes to finish better than both marks when the season concludes at home with That School Up North.
Ben Axelrod - Lead Team Writer Braxton Miller will be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy
Just because the Buckeyes are enduring a bowl ban this season doesn't mean that they can't bring home a little hardware.
Urban Meyer has referred to Braxton Miller as the "most dynamic player" he's ever coached. That means that Meyer- who can be honest to a fault- thinks that his new quarterback is more dynamic than players such as former Utah quarterback Alex Smith, and former Florida quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Cam Newton. All three of those players have been finalists for the Heisman Trophy, with latter two having won the award.
With a weak out-of-conference schedule, don't be surprised to see Miller rack up numbers early and often, and eventually find himself in New York as a finalist for college football's most prestigious award.
Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst Ohio State will have two first-team All-Americans on defense
While the jury is out still out on the new Ohio State offense, much is expected out of a talented, experienced, and deep unit on the defensive side of the football. It is on defense where the Buckeyes will have two first-team All-Americans this fall. Senior defensive end John Simon is in the best shape of his life and with a tremendous group of defensive linemen around him, should have a monster season, especially if he can play his more natural strong-side defensive end spot with the return of Nathan Williams and the emerge of youngsters Steve Miller and Noah Spence at the LEO.
The outstanding defensive line should also lead to some opportunities for the defensive backs, most notably corner Bradley Roby. As a redshirt-freshman a season ago, Roby was arguably the team's best defensive back and is one of the rising stars on the Ohio State roster. Roby showed a knack for the big play last year and with the defensive line generating pressure, should have plenty of opportunities to rack up the interceptions.
Jeremy Birmingham - Team Writer Rod Smith will lead the Buckeyes in rushing yards from the running back position
Yep, I said it. Rod Smith will lead Ohio State's stable of running backs in yards. As a freshman, Smith saw his season short-circuited by some fumblitis and a sputtering Buckeye offense that afforded little playing time for those buried on the depth chart. Under Urban Meyer, a rejuvenated Smith will see himself on level ground as one back in the Buckeyes embarrassment of riches at the tailback spot.
Smith's size/speed combination is elite, and with Urban Meyer (and Mickey Marotti) on his tail, the light will come on and Smith's talent will overcome his lack of experience. Despite the logjam at running back, it's a position that is not as deep on experience. Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall have each had over 100 carries a year ago, but Hall's early season effectiveness will likely be hampered by his injured foot. Someone is going to have to share carries early with the outspoken Hyde; and Smith should have the inside edge on freshmen Bri'onte Dunn and likely redshirt candidate Warren Ball. When that happens, Smith won't give it back.
Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player The 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes will go undefeated
The non-conference schedule sets up well for Ohio State with Miami and UCF both being 'locks' in my opinion but one will be closer than expected. The Cal game could be a struggle but the Bucks will prevail and then the UAB game will be a lay-up before the start of the conference schedule.
Road games are never easy but East Lansing (Mich.) isn't thought of as one of the most difficult places to play in the Big Ten. The Spartans have been really tough in recent "Dantonio years". Last year the Spartans squeaked by the Buckeyes in a game that the Buckeyes had no business even being close. 2012 will be a different story. The Bucks will be stout on defense and their speed and athleticism will rule the day.
The Buckeyes will not fold when the Cornhuskers comes to town and the demons of blowing a 21 point lead in the second half will be exorcised. Bo Pelini's homecoming to Ohio State will see him leave as a loser.
A win against Indiana will make for 7-0 and a revenge game against Purdue will lead to win number eight. Next comes a visit to "Unhappy Valley" and while everyone thinks this will be a walk in the park, it most likely will be a close game. PSU will still have many good players, pride to play for and an always loud supportive home crowd. Our Buckeyes will prove to have more "firepower" and will head back to Ohio having won 13 out of the 20 games played against Penn State since It joined the Big Ten.
Ohio State will get over on a rebuilding Illinois team for win number ten and then a trip to Madison (Wis.) against the Badgers and this will be a grudge match after the Buckeyes "upset" of the Badgers in 2011 and also due to the recruiting "quarrels" between Urban Meyer and Bret Bielema. The Buckeyes have a bye week prior to the Wisconsin game and Urban Meyer has a 33-3 record with his teams when they have more than one week to prepare for an opponent. Win number ten.
Last but not least in comes 'the team up north', coming south, for Brady Hoke's first visit to the "Shoe" when it will be on fire just like 2010. The Bucks will win convincingly completing a tremendous, eye opening.
Coach Urban Meyer leads Ohio State in their first scrimmage of the season.
Ohio State Class of 2013 commit solid with the Buckeyes. August 22, 2012 Source: YouTube/TubeChop
A video posted to YouTube today demonstrated that Ohio State’s football team has some moves when it comes to doing the Dougie, the hip-hop dance made popular by Cali Swag District in 2010. But the players’ moves pale in comparison to those of Sean Branick, a defensive line intern for the team. Watching him Branick dance is like watching a lava lamp in fast forward. Showing off moves belying his size and skin tone, he has the Ohio State players whooping and hollering by the time he’s done. If a contestant for the upcoming season of “So You Think You Can Dance” drops out, Branick would make a hell of a replacement. Failing that, have him face off against that awesome kid dancing to “Thriller” at Mariners games. August 23, 2012 Source: Lost Lettermen
Head coach Urban Meyer and the Ohio State squad explain the term "juice," and the extra bit of energy needed to excel. August 21, 2012 Source: ESPN
Jordan Hall meets the media after practice at Ohio State. August 21, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
Devin Smith meets with the media after Tuesday's practice. August 21, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
Final Thoughts on Ohio State August 19, 2012 Source: BTN
Dienhart: Meyer, Ohio State Shaping Up To Be Tough August 18, 2012 Source: Big Ten Network - There were many things to watch at Ohio State today in what was as physical a practice as I have seen on our trip. The practice-ending scrimmage had the intensity of a game and featured a lot of hitting. I spent a lot of my attention focused on an offense since in 2011 Ohio State had the worst passing numbers in the Big Ten. Now, Urban Meyer has installed a spread scheme for a team that opened at No. 18 in the AP poll on Saturday.
How will it work? We’ll cover that and more when our Ohio State Preview Show on this Big Ten Football Preview Tour airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET. But let me tell you what I saw Saturday. Shoot me your questions as I’m answering the best ones from the BTN bus as we head to our final three schools of the tour.
This always is a good-looking team “getting off the bus.” But even more so this year. The bodies all looked good, with few bellies hanging over the belt. Renowned strength coach Mickey Marotti and I talked after practice about conditioning and he told me how hiring a nutritionist has made a difference in how the team looks. (Jim Tressel never had a nutritionist on staff.) Urban Meyer’s quick tempo on offense requires players to be in shape, and that was evident today.
Quarterback Braxton Miller looks to have a good grasp of the spread scheme. He showed a nice touch on the short passes that are so vital to hit in this offense. He also showed his classic escapability. Some staffers felt this was one of Miller’s best practices of camp. In short, he is light years better than he was in 2011 as a true freshman.
With Jordan Hall out—he was in full pads with a boot on a foot—it was important to watch the running backs. Carlos Hyde figures to carry the load in the interim. He’s a big back with decent straight-line speed. Freshman Bri’onte Dunn is a speed demon. Rod Smith is another big back who can move the pile. Freshman Warren Ball is another back over 6-0 and 200 pounds in what is a huge backfield.
The receiving corps has been maligned since the spring. Who is going to step up? Players were in and out all practice. Corey Brown looked good. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman told me before practice that he has looked the best of the receivers in camp. Devin Smith also had his moment. Michael Thomas is a true freshman sensation and spring star who showed me he could be a contributor this fall, but he was running with the second team. Chris Fields is a steady veteran. Jake Stoneburner was moved from tight end not long ago and looks like he will be a matchup nightmare working out of the slot. The tight ends also showed me something. Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett each can move and showed good hands at times. Herman likes the athletic ability of each guy.
The offensive line was reworked at the start of spring and started to take shape late in the spring. The spot to watch is right tackle, with converted tight end Reid Fragel battling true freshman Taylor Decker. Fragel ran with the first team today. But offensive line coach Ed Warinner says the battle will rage on and each figures to play. The left side looks set, with Jack Mewhort at tackle and Andrew Norwell at guard. Corey Linsley is set at center, with Marcus Hall at right guard.
If there is a better defensive line in the nation, I’d like to see it. Depth abounds. John Simon is a relentless end who never stops working. Tackle Johnathan Hankins is the quintessential tackle. He has lost weight but still is explosive, strong and hard to root out of the middle. The guy is a first-round NFL pick. Redshirt freshman Chris Carter was on the second team and could be a guy to watch. At 6-4, 340, the former offensive lineman is huge and can move. The four true freshmen are impressive and were running with the second team. End Noah Spence is a dynamic speed rusher off the edge and looks to be the best of the bunch. He had a couple sacks in the scrimmage and was generally difficult to block. Adolphus Washington has bulked up and moved inside. Se’Von Pittman and Tommy Schutt also had their moments. Wait until we see these guys in a couple of seasons.
Linebacker is the biggest question on the team. I talked to coordinator Luke Fickell before practice and he said Ryan Shazier and Etienne Sabino are key guys on the outside. Shazier has added bulk coming off a strong freshman season. He was dressed in full pads but did little work. The key guy is Curtis Grant in the middle. He was a five-star recruit who just never picked up the defense last year and largely was relegated to special teams. He looked ready to play a big role today. Grant is a big linebacker who can move, has a nose for the ball and stays on his feet. I asked Fickell if any young linebackers have impressed, and he mentioned freshmen Camren Williams and Connor Crowell, who both ran well today.
The starting four in the secondary is outstanding. The corner tandem of Bradley Roby and Travis Howard is strong. Ditto the safety duo of C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant, a hard-hitting pair. They each showed me a nose for the ball today. And Roby is every bit as fast as advertised.
This was as intense a group of assistants as I have seen on the tour, and this is Stop Nine. Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel are especially, ahem, demonstrative. Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell also coaches with passion. And it’s difficult to not be impressed with offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who is a future head coach. Great staff here in Columbus.
3 OSU/M*chigan Must-See Matchups in 2012 August 16, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - (Note: While I realize that Brady Hoke vs. China Dynasty's buffet on West Lane is a much-anticipated battle, it will not make this list.)
Jake Stoneburner (WR/TE) vs. JT Floyd (CB) ...What makes this matchup intriguing to me is that UM does not have a tremendous amount of size in their defensive backfield, so adding another tight end to the field and moving Stoneburner to wide receiver could help OSU exploit that weakness. Measuring in at 6’, Floyd is the tallest starting DB for the Wolverines, while Stoneburner is currently listed at 6’5”.
Aside from the height advantage, Stoneburner will be much more of a load to bring down than previous wide receivers that Floyd will have faced, since he will be giving up about 60 pounds to the former tight end.
If TSUN decides to try and cover Stoneburner with anyone other than a corner (especially a linebacker), this will create some horrific matchups in speed, as he can still run even with most other wide receivers...
Key matchup stat – Jake Stoneburner - 6’5”, 245 lbs VS. JT Floyd - 6’, 183 lbs
Johnathan Hankins (DT) vs. Kyle Kalis (LG) Kyle Kalis, the man, the myth, the freshman. Kalis, an Ohio native, made big waves last year with his decommitment from OSU and subsequent commitment to TSUN, and continued to keep the waters choppy with comments about/to OSU fans. In his defense, he had made his commitment to Jim Tressel, so the impending sanctions and "resignation" of the coach were certainly reason enough to leave. However, when he received Twitter comments in poor taste and threats from the 1% of OSU fans that sit in their basement yelling at their mom to bring them meatloaf, he decided to lash out. The comment that drew the most criticism (read: "laughter") from Buckeye fans was, "November 24th is going to be ugly. There will be blood on the field and it won't be mine." As for Kalis' ability on the field, well, it's yet to be seen.
So what makes this matchup one of my favorites? Ohio boy turned Wolverine vs. M*chigan boy turned Buckeye, upperclassman vs. true freshman, preseason All-American vs. 5* recruit, etc...
Key matchup stat – Johnathan Hankins has roughly 6 quarts of blood...Good luck, Kyle
Braxton Miller (QB) vs. Denard Robinson (QB) Hopefully this one doesn't come as much of a shock to you...and yes, it's technically cheating since they don't line up against each other on the field, but this is my blog entry, so let it go.
OSU's mobile quarterback had some magnificent highlights in 2011, but also struggled within an offense that kept his hands tied for most of the year. Look no further than the Illinois game in which Braxton managed to complete just one pass on four attempts and somehow sneak out a victory, thanks simply to more talent up front than their opponents. Now, enter new head coach, Urban Meyer and new offensive coordinator, Tom Herman, and we're looking at a whole new world of possibilities for Miller. Herman has a history of getting the most offensive production imagineable out of his players, and Meyer's proven track record of winning with a dynamic spread offense speaks for itself. Combine that with the talent that we know is there with Braxton Miller, aside from just his scrambling abilities, and we hopefully will see an immediate difference in production from 2011 to 2012.
Denard Robinson has proven that he has an uncanny ability to find a small gap in a defense and turn it into a huge play. His speed is unquestioned, except for when he claims that he's faster than Usain Bolt but that's another story, and his agility and elusiveness make him a defensive coordinator's nightmare. There are flaws with his game, namely the passing part of it, but his constant threat of bringing the ball down and running helps keep defenses on their heels and gives him more time/opportunity to throw.
Key matchup stat – 337 total yards for Denard Robinson vs. 336 total yards for Braxton Miller in 2011...
Sophomore wide receiver Devin Smith and senior defensive back Orhian Johnson speak with the media recently to talk about the progress of fall camp. August 16, 2012 Source: OhioStateBuckeyescom
If there is one position that fans and non-fans will be paying special attention to this year when it comes to the Ohio State Buckeyes it will be the wide receiver position. It has been well documented that the passing game in 2011 was not one of the highlights in the annals of recent college football offense.
Enter new wide receiver coach Zach Smith who is now charged with working with a unit that by all accounts underperformed into making them a unit capable of running Urban Meyer and Tom Herman's offense.
A wide receiver that didn't get much of an opportunity last year was Tyrone Williams. The tall receiver out of Cleveland (Ohio) looks the part with the height and speed but never really was able to put it together in his first two years with the program.
Even Smith now admits that his first impressions of Williams in the spring was not a great one and it had nothing to do with the physical traits that he possessed. But now Williams has seemed to turn a corner and is starting to perform as a college receiver. That doesn't mean that he has emerged as a top threat on the team but he has finally bought into the system and is 'drinking the kool-aid'.
Smith talked at length about Williams and his progress during a Friday interview session and we have his comments here in this free video update. August 17, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com
Over 100,000 rowdy college students pack into the stadium on any given football Saturday, the same way they have been since it opened in 1922. Narrowing the rest of the top stadium atmospheres in college football down to just 25 schools is a truly subjective task, as there's no clear methodology for quantifying what makes for a "great" stadium atmosphere.
Perhaps it's the loudness generated from the crowd, or maybe it's the energy of the team. No one knows for sure how to define it, but some stadiums just seem to have that special "it factor" that makes a place great.
Here's a look at the top 25 stadium atmospheres in college football today...
#1. Ohio Stadium, Ohio: Ohio State Buckeyes football is a tradition, going strong at Ohio Stadium since the 1920s. Fans flock here in droves on football gamedays, and when they do, it's just about as noisy as a stadium can get.
Other Big Ten venues:
5. Spartan Stadium, Michigan: There's plenty here that makes this stadium unique when it comes to "atmosphere." There is a "Spartan Walk" and a third-quarter cheer that never fails to get the crowd howling.
9. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa: The fans here are loud and loyal, never failing to cheer on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football squad.
12. Michigan Stadium, Michigan: No "top 25 stadium atmosphere" list could be completed without Michigan Stadium, home of the University of Michigan football. The fans here get loud and crazy, making it a fun, party-like atmosphere for all to enjoy.
17. Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin: Let's be honest: There's not a whole lot to do in Wisconsin if you're not a football fan. Chances are, if you live in this state, you're either a diehard Green Bay Packers fan or a Wisconsin Badgers football supporter. One unique aspect of the stadium is the call-and-response chant from the crowd before kickoff, which gets every game started off with a bang.
20. Beaver Stadium, Pennsylvania: Penn State football has had its fair share of problems since the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but sports fans here still support the team like they always have. This is definitely one of the loudest stadium atmospheres in the nation...
After what must seem like the longest offseason of his life—in many ways, it was—Urban Meyer will walk down the tunnel at Ohio Stadium and lead the Buckeyes into battle against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 1.
More than 10 days into fall camp and Meyer still doesn’t know exactly how good—or bad—his team can and will be in year No. 1 in Columbus, but he may be close to finding out.
"This will be the hardest week of training camp," said Meyer, who held his first two-a-day practice of the fall last Friday.
"This will make or break us this week."
Because of the switch to semesters at Ohio State, the Buckeyes could only practice one time a day for most of last week as players finished up their final exams. It wasn’t an ideal situation for Meyer, who was anxious to get going with the business of fall camp, but it was an even bigger adjustment for the players.
"It’s more of a change for them," said Meyer, who was at Florida for six years before taking last season off from coaching.
"This is all I’ve ever known. There’s no challenge for the freshmen because they don’t know any better. It’s a challenge for the guys who have done it before, but I haven’t seen any resistance. We’re ready to go."
Meyer knew his players would be amped to get back on the practice field this fall, like a racehorse smelling the dirt track from the starting gate. What he didn’t want was a bunch of players who thought they could make up for hard work with a lot of enthusiasm.
He’s certainly looking for that enthusiasm now, however, as the Buckeyes enter the ‘dog days’ of August, with the worst week of camp still ahead of them.
"I’m up for some ‘Rah Rah’ now," he said Sunday during Ohio State fall media day.
"You’ve trained for three months in the weight room, screamed at lifting weights, stretching and running gassers. Now you get to go do something you love, in shorts and a t-shirt.
"I want to see them do it now. It was a good day yesterday as far as guys flying around."
Meyer surprised his players by going easy on them early in camp, at least by Meyer’s standards, and Mickey Marotti’s. Then came Friday’s first two-a-day. With final exams in the rearview mirror, Meyer kicked his player’s butts in the morning session on Friday.
"It’s a challenge," freshman defensive end Noah Spence said shaking his head.
"You have to wake up and realize that you’re going to get yourself killed every day, but if you love the game, you’re going to do it. I love it, so I’m going to keep coming back."
Many of Spence’s teammates opted to sleep on the inflatable beds in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center after practice, but Meyer had them back out there in the afternoon and again on Saturday for the first live scrimmage of the fall.
"Yesterday was big for the young guys," senior John Simon said on Sunday.
"Coach really wanted to see how they would handle a game-like atmosphere and see who he could count on this coming season. I think they went out there and performed. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but there were a lot of positives out there."
Meyer places an inordinate amount of importance on these practices because the season goes by quick. It’s really two full practices of intense learning and training each week and then a glorified walkthrough.
The Buckeyes need to lay the proper foundation over the next 17 days if they are going to have a chance for success during the 2012 season.
"(It’s) 28 or 29 practices for training camp and then you have 12 times two for the rest of the season," Meyer said.
"That’s 24 practices. That’s maintenance and game planning practices. You’re not going to get that much better throughout the fall. 24 practices once the season starts and 28 before the first game. That’s a lot of practices."
It’s starting to make sense why Meyer believes the next week or two will ‘make or break’ his team.
Vannett suddenly a star in Ohio State offense August 14, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - Mere months ago, Nick Vannett was third on the Ohio State depth chart and his own head coach wouldn't even say his name. Now the redshirt freshman finds himself listed as a co-starter at tight end and on the receiving end of unsolicited praise from Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer.
"Nick Vannett is one of the most improved players," Meyer said in the midst of answering an unrelated question pertaining to his quarterbacks. "He's going to be right in the middle of this thing, and I didn't see that at all in the spring. If you noticed, I didn't even bring his name up because he really was not a very functional guy in the spring. I love giving credit where credit is due."
If you need any more proof as to how much confidence the first-year Ohio State head coach has in Vannett, look no further than his announcement that last year's starting tight end Jake Stoneburner has been moved to wide receiver. That leaves Vannett as the co-starter at the tight end spot, alongside sophomore Jeff Heuerman. And seeing as how Meyer has used his tight ends in the past, there's a great chance that both OSU tight ends will see significant playing time, regardless of who's named the starter.
After spending the 2011 season redshirting instead of playing, Vannett is excited for his new role for the upcoming season.
"I think it's going to be great. Me and Jeff are both two tight ends where we can get in there and get the job done," Vannett said. "With Jake moving to wide receiver, we're going to see a lot of sets where we're both in the same game at the same time. I think it's going to be a great passing game."
Given the history that Meyer has had with his tight ends, which has included him coaching NFL draft picks Cornelius Ingram and Aaron Hernandez at Florida, that paying time could pay huge dividends for the Westerville, Ohio native. Vannett said that he was thrilled when he heard that Meyer was hired to be the Buckeyes head coach.
"When I heard the news that he was going to be the coach, I was excited. Just the history with Aaron Hernandez and the great tight ends they had at Florida," Vannett said. "I was just excited for them coming because I know what he does with tight ends and the success they've had with tight ends."
At 6-foot-6, 248 pounds, Vannett said that his skill set is different from those of the tight ends that Meyer has coached in the past, but that doesn't mean that he can't be successful in his new coach's spread offense.
"I wouldn't put us in the same category. I'm not really the speedy guy like he is. I think I'm more of the traditional guy. I've got some good speed, I can run good routes, I've got good hands. Also, I can block," Vannett said. "Anything that Coach Meyer asks me to do, I just try to go out there and do my best."
But regardless of how the redshirt freshman stacks up to Meyer's former players, the fact that Vannett is even being put in a conversation with names like Ingram and Hernandez is amazing considering where he was after spring practice. With Heuerman only a year ahead of him, Blake Thomas arriving in the fall, and Marcus Baugh committed to the 2013 recruiting class, Vannett could have easily been on the outside looking in when it came to the future of the tight end position at Ohio State.
Instead, Vannett got his act together. And if Meyer's comments and actions are any indication, his hard work has paid off.
"After spring, I had a little trouble with the offense and trying to understand it completely," Vannett said. "This offseason I really took the time to study the playbook really hard and understand what my role would be on certain plays. I think in camp so far, it's really paid off."
On Tuesday afternoon the news of freshman defensive tackle Tommy Schutt having his black stripe removed from his helmet came out of Buckeyes' practice. The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder out of Glen Ellyn (Ill.) was not initially committed to Ohio State but after changing his pledge to the Buckeyes, he has fit in and now has proven to excel on the big stage.
Defensive line recruiting has already been a mark under new head coach Urban Meyer and Schutt was one of several true freshman singled out by Meyer during Sunday's media day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The Buckeyes are already blessed with a veteran-laden line going into the 2012 season but the young guys are pushing hard and making their way into the two-deep.
On Tuesday the good news came down for Schutt when his mentor, Garrett Goebel, was asked to take the stripe off of the freshman's helmet.
There was no media access to Tuesday's practice but we did catch up with Schutt over the weekend and asked him about the transition to college as well as what it would mean when he got his 'rookie stripe' removed. Check it out in this free video update. August 14, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com
Preview of Ohio State Training Days on ESPN from CFB Blitz on ESPN Ohio State Football the focus of ESPN & ESPNU's Training Days; Four 30-minute ESPNU shows
Urban Meyer address the media at Ohio State's football media day. August 13, 2012 by elevenwarriors
Meyer: 'This will make or break us'
August 12, 2012 Source: Bucknuts - Meyer was asked if he could share the name of one player who has "jumped out at him" after one week. The coach responded with three names initially and, throughout the rest of the press conference, periodically added more names to that list.
"I think (tailback) Carlos Hyde is a guy," Meyer said. "I have a term called ‘Wednesday practice.’ He had a practice in the spring that was like a Wednesday practice (of a game week). Unfortunately, he didn’t have a Monday, Friday, Saturday to follow up the Wednesday practice. We are eight or nine practices into it and he’s the guy who has been really solid on offense.
"On defense, the guy who has caught me is a guy named Hale, Joel Hale. I can’t say he’s an All-Big Ten player yet, but from where he was in the spring to where he is now, I have to give him credit. He came out and worked. The other guy is Christian Bryant. I know he played here, but I didn’t see as much as I’m seeing now. He got real busy as well."
As the session continued, Meyer shared more players who have improved their stock so far.
"Andrew Norwell is in a most improved category with Carlos Hyde (on offense)," he said. "He and Marcus Hall are much improved and that’s coming from our line coach (Ed Warinner). But I see it as well.
"The other name is Nick Vannett. He is one of the most improved players. Nick is a guy who will be right in the middle of this thing. I didn’t see that in the spring and I didn’t even bring his name up because he was not a very functional guy.
"But I love giving credit when credit is due. That guy got real busy with studying the playbook, learning the game and (assistant) Tim Hinton and Nick Vannett have done a nice job."
The Buckeyes held their first intrasquad scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday. It was closed to the public and the media. Meyer was asked what he saw or liked during the scrimmage.
"I like our quarterbacks," Meyer said. "On purpose, they are caged tigers right now. They get quick whistles and they’re wearing black shirts and can’t be touched. Obviously, in our style of play, that changes the whole whole game. We will open that cage on Sept. 1. Up until that time, they will not be touched. We aren’t calling a game with the single-wing runs and the things we like to do.
"But our two quarterbacks are kind of doing what we ask them to do. The great quarterbacks and the ones I want, make something out of nothing. These guys do that.
"I think we’re right on schedule. One of the challenges I had for Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton was for them to throw the ball a little bit and they have. But we’re not near where we need to be throwing the ball. It is much different than what you saw in the spring. I’ve seen a team that has gone out and worked."
The coach was asked if he has thought about using quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton at the same time.
"He’s earned the consideration, but he has not earned the playing time yet," Meyer said. "That’s still in process. I wouldn’t mind coming up with a little package where they’re on the field at the same time. Braxton doesn’t know it yet and neither does Kenny, but I have it on a piece of paper. We’ll have that chat pretty soon.
"If they are in our best 11, it’s our job to find a way to get them on the field."
The one sticking point for the offense seems to be the wide receiver position.
"They’re not Ohio State caliber yet," Meyer said. "The effort is much better. Devin Smith is much better than he was in the spring. Philly Brown got dinged up a little bit in the spring, but he is playing at a higher level. Jake Stoneburner, it’s official that we moved him out to the receivers.
"Verlon Reed is still coming (back). He’s a little gimpy from his injury, but he’s coming on. Evan Spencer, we were scared one day he got carted off. But it turned out to be just two knees hitting. He should be back tomorrow or the next day.
"Michael Thomas has picked up from where he was in the spring. We have numbers, but we are still improving in terms of quality. I am more optimistic about them than I was in the spring."
In terms of Stoneburner, Meyer said, "He now meets with the receivers. He’ll practice at times (at tight end) as we will use him as a surface tight end. But we have two pretty good tight ends with (Jeff) Heuerman and (Nick) Vannett. He will be our (Aaron) Hernandez-type guy who can do some things."
With Hyde entrenched as the starting tailback – at least until Jordan Hall returns from his foot injury – Meyer said he has a couple of candidates to back him up.
"Brionte Dunn and Rod (Smith) are in a battle for that backup spot," he said. "I can’t tell you who it is, but they each had a good scrimmage yesterday."
Removing The Black Stripe
Meyer and his staff have started a new tradition with this camp. They have placed a black stripe on the helmet of each freshman and assigned each of those players an upperclassman mentor. When the mentor and the position coach believe that freshman is ready to "graduate" and become a full-fledged team member, they remove the black stripe in a team ceremony.
Safety Devan Bogard was first to have his stripe removed, while linebacker Noah Spence had his removed on the field after Saturday’s scrimmage...
In discussing the linebacker position, Meyer said highly touted freshman David Perkins has shown he can play – even if he has not had his black stripe removed just yet.
"The guy who has taken notice – and he’s not a black stripe guy yet – is David Perkins, the freshman from South Bend, Ind. He had a heck of a scrimmage yesterday. He is a fly-and-hit guy. He will play this year. How much? We’re still working on that."
* Meyer said sophomore corner Bradley Roby is showing what he is capable of.
"He jumped all over the place the last two days," Meyer said. "I think he gets bored. I think he is really talented and our (wide receiver) positions aren’t great. We’re getting better so there is a little bit of a challenge. In the spring, he did not get challenged. He answered it.
"He has had a heck of a last two days. The day before the scrimmage and in the scrimmage, he looked like he is supposed to look."
* Senior defensive end Nate Williams continues to rehab from his knee injury that cost him almost all of last season. Meyer said he feels for Williams "when you see what it means to him and how hard he is working" to get back.
Williams has done some drillwork but has not participated in team, full contact situations.
Tailback Jordan Hall suffered a torn tendon in his right foot during the summer. He was due to return in mid-September but said he hopes to be back before the Week 2 game against Central Florida.
"He is ahead of schedule," Meyer said of Hall. "He is still in a boot. He is a wonderful young man. I keep bragging about his 3.0 (GPA). He has done everything we have asked of him. He has a big smile on his face and he will be ready to go whenever they give him their approval."
For now, the Buckeyes are mottling through without Williams and Hall...
* The team initially convened at Ohio Stadium to take a team photo as well as the usual position photos and head shots. Family members were also on hand. They then bused back to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to meet with the media...
Quarterbacks still caged August 13, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - When asked what stood out from the team’s first substantial scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday, Meyer’s first response was about the passing skills of Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton.
"I like our quarterbacks," Meyer said. "Our quarterbacks, on purpose, they’re caged tigers right now. They’ve got quick whistles, they’ve got black shirts on … which means they’re not allowed to be touched. Obviously, in our style of play, that changes the whole game."
The quarterbacks’ running, on called plays and in improvised situations, is a staple of Meyer’s spread system.
"We open that cage on Sept.?1 (against Miami University)," Meyer said. "Up until then, they won’t be touched. We aren’t calling (plays in practice) with the single-wing runs and things we like to do. Our two quarterbacks are kind of doing what we ask them to do."
Buckeyes hold media day Sunday August 12, 2012 Source: OSU Official Site - Players took team photo, met with friends and family and members of the media...Read player quotes from Sunday's media day and view photo gallery...
Media Day Roundup August 12, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - • Johnathan Hankins believes the team has the ability to go 12-0. If not for the postseason ban, he said the Buckeyes would be a national title contender.
• Like Meyer, Hankins believes Nathan Williams' return takes the defensive line to the next level.
• Because of the past 20 months, Hankins said Ohio State is looking to make a statement this season...
• Evan Spencer said Braxton Miller can be 'ridiculous' in Meyer's offense. Spencer thinks the offense is 100 percent suited to Braxton's strengths.
• Carlos Hyde prides himself on having good hands, going as far as to say that they are the best on the team. Corey Linsley said Hyde's hands are good enough to be a tight end.
• According to Linsley, Fragel is the starter at right tackle. Linsley said some things holding Fragel back are pass-blocking and moving too fast instead of letting his assignment develop...
• Linsley believes Guiton has improved so dramatically that he's not surprised to hear Meyer might put him and Miller on field together.
• Ed Warinner is much more of a "yeller" than Jim Bollman was, Linsley said. He described Bollman as laid back. Warinner is more demonstrative in his efforts to motivate...
• Noah Spence said he is still busy learning the playbook and his assignments. He said he is seeing most of his action on passing downs.
• Jordan Hall said he should be back by the second or third game of the season...
RB Jordan Hall discusses his return from a foot injury at OSU's media day. August 12, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
DE John Simon at OSU's media day. August 12, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
WR Devin Smith at OSU's media day. August 12, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
OL Marcus Hall at OSU's media day. August 12, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
Freshman DL Noah Spence at OSU's media day. August 12, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
Freshman LB Camren Williams speaks at OSU's media day. August 12, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
Co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers previews the 2012 Ohio State defense. August 10, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors
Offensive line coach Ed Warinner previews the 2012 Ohio State offensive line. August 10, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors
LB Curtis Grant meets with the media after Friday's practice. August 10, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
OSU's QB Connection: Guiton, Miller August 10, 2012 Source: Bucknuts - Ohio State is wrapping up its first week of preseason camp and media members got a chance this morning to meet with the team’s top two quarterbacks, Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton...
How has practice been going for Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller? The success of the Buckeyes will rest on the shoulders of more than one player as the team looks to bounce back after a poor 2011 season but there may not be a player who has more 'perceived' pressure than quarterback Braxton Miller. The sophomore signal caller had moments of greatness during his freshman campaign but also had times where he looked like, a freshman.
But now he is a year older and knows he will be the starter going into the season and has had a chance to work with Tom Herman and Urban Meyer. How does Miller feel the transition has been going? We have a couple minutes with him after practice. August 10, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com
•Meyer's goals are to run one-back, power football, but to do so from shotgun-spread formations that force the defense to account for the quarterback, thus creating a better arithmetic equation for the inside run game.
The Ohio State Power Football Game Remains.
• As such, Ohio State's running game is based around the same downhill, pro-style run plays that Ohio State fans are long familiar with.
• The difference is that Meyer runs these plays in multiple directions from the spread, with quarterback reads and options built in. Therefore, all 11 defenders remain threatened even when they see initial run action...
No-Huddle to Dictate Tempo.
• Ohio State will be nearly all no-huddle this year, following a trend in college football. The reason that Meyer (and others) have decided to go to no-huddle is to take advantage of the offense's ability to control the pace of play, forcing a defense to match an offense's tempo—which is generally fast.
Tom Herman's Biggest Impact Will Be Felt in the Passing Game.
• As discussed above, the running game will largely reflect Meyer's persona and background. But Tom Herman's impact as offensive coordinator will certainly be noticeable in the passing game. It will particularly be felt in two ways: with the horizontal screen game and with combining concepts in the drop back pass game.
Look for Some 'Oregon' in THE Option Football.
• As noted, the bread and butter for Meyer's offense is and will be the inside power run game. But the bells and whistles off that run game are often what people notice. And one of those is option football. This is particularly dangerous when Meyer has athletes such as Braxton Miller that can make plays on the edge.
Meyer's 'Hybrid Player' is Overrated—But Getting the Ball to his Playmakers is Not.
• With Jordan Hall's injury, much of the focus is upon who will fill the 'hybrid' slot-back role that Percy Harvin made so famous. While Meyer enjoys having a versatile player that can nimbly move between threatening the edge and between the tackles, this is not the person who makes this offense go. Instead, think of it as the cherry on top. Hall himself was not an ideal fit for this role, as he is not a true vertical receiving threat. While such a multi-faceted player is a plus, the role of horizontal edge constraint threat can be filled by several players depending upon the situation. (See No. 1 above.)
But Meyer Must Have Both a QB and Inside Run Threat.
• That is not to say, however, that the 'Jimmie and Joes' do not matter. As with any offense, Meyer's offense is based around a core philosophy. His is the inside power run game, made possible by the QB run threat that evens the offense's arithmetic deficiency (everything else is just 'constraint')...
Offensive coordinator Tom Herman previews the 2012 Ohio State offense. August 8, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers Coach Luke Fickell previews the 2012 Ohio State defense. August 8, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors
Urban Meyer will be home for dinner August 8, 2012 Source: ESPN - Ohio State's new coach is committed to balancing work and family; Meyer strolls through the Ohio State football parking lot with his 13-year-old son, Nate. Years from now, when Urban either succeeds or fails in remaking himself, he will look back on these two days in June as a dividing line. On one side, the past 18 months of searching, and on the other, the test of that search. In the car, he turns right out of his new office, heading some two hours north. There's vital business at hand, which requires him to leave the football bunker on a summer afternoon...
Bucknuts - OSU Defense - August 7 2012 by Dave Biddle Ohio State's defensive line is expected to be the strength of the entire team this season. At Tuesday's practice, we filmed and narrated 3 minutes of D-line drills. Some of the players featured include Adolphus Washington, Se'Von Pittman, Chris Carter, Johnathan Hankins, Michael Bennett and Tommy Schutt.
Bucknuts - Buckeyes' O-Line - August 7 2012 by Dave Biddle Ohio State's offensive line has been completely overhauled, yet the coaching staff seems pleased with the group overall. During Tuesday's practice, we filmed and narrated a 3-minute video of the Buckeyes going through O-line drills. How are the young players like Taylor Decker and Kyle Dodson looking? What about the veterans?
Camp Meyer: Tuesday Observations August 7, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - Day Three of Ohio State’s fall camp brought the first day of contact with pads on. It also featured more impressive play from the Buckeyes’ freshman class. Names like Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Jamal Marcus may become household sooner than many expected. The stalwarts – John Simon, Michael Bennett and Johnathan Hankins – aren’t being shoved aside, however.
Following practice, offensive coordinator Tom Herman said his unit is "light years" ahead of where they were after the spring game. But if Ohio State plans on going undefeated, a vast improvement will need to be made. Braxton Miller is the catalyst and his cast members, from Carlos Hyde to Michael Thomas, have steadily progressed.
• Entering this season, Luke Fickell said he feels much more comfortable than last year.
• The expectations have not changed, according to Fickell. The objective this season is to win as many games for the seniors as possible. That point was reiterated by every person we talked to.
• Fickell said he wasn’t sure if the linebacking corps has three starters right now.
• The biggest thing missing last season, according to Fickell, was a leader at middle linebacker. That role falls on Curtis Grant’s shoulders this season.
• In the locker room, there are defensive numbers posted that the defense has to cover if they are to be deemed a great Ohio State defense.
• Bradley Roby mentioned the other day how he wanted to play offense and defense. Fickell quickly nixed that idea, saying he should concentrate on being great at one thing.
• Ryan Shazier had a very productive freshman year, but he said he actually played too fast. He said he would just run fast and hit the hole.
• Over the summer, Shazier said he spent a lot of time watching film and realized there were a lot of missed tackles and why he missed them.
• Straight from the horse's mouth, Shazier said he eats six meals per day, and his playing weight is up 25 pounds to 230.
• An amazing thing, and it is noticeable, is how different guys' body types are now. And it's at every position.
• Herman said the OSU offense should have the entire playbook at its disposal by Day Six. Today was the third practice.
• Herman called the offense a "4" after ending the spring as a "2."
• 'Philly' Brown did not have an opportunity to run the 40 and said he is faster than Roby, who ran a 4.31.
• Reid Fragel and Taylor Decker split time at first-team right tackle. That will be a battle all camp. Fragel is still struggling with pass-blocking. There is a clear delineation between the two in run- and pass-blocking.
• Overall, the offensive line is much better than they were at the end of the spring. Night and day difference.
• Carlos Hyde looked very smooth. He was fast to the holes and on the outside. He’ll be a threat all season. It is clear he worked on different parts of his game over the summer.
• Bri’onte Dunn also looked good. Definitely quick hitting the holes.
• Thomas continues to impress. He catches almost everything thrown his way, and if he doesn’t catch it, he makes a great effort. Braxton Miller underthrew one pass significantly and Thomas literally went over Doran Grant’s back attempting to catch it.
• Zach Boren had two touchdowns during red zone drills. He looks like he could be a huge weapon out of the backfield. He’s much more mobile too after dropping a lot of weight over the summer...
LB Ryan Shazier speaks after Tuesday's practice at Ohio State. August 7, 2012 Soucre: Scouting Ohio
Perhaps by the time the Buckeyes take on their rivals at the end of the season, though, sophomores Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant could make themselves a lot more familiar to folks around the Big Ten. Shazier in particular began building some buzz for himself during a three-game tackling barrage when he was inserted into the starting lineup due to injury last season and responded with 30 takedowns.
Now Shazier appears to have a more permanent spot in the rotation, and along with Grant and senior Etienne Sabino they should give defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell a solid foundation to start with. While there isn’t much experience in reserve to work with right now, the Buckeyes loaded up with five talented signees in February who will ultimately be charged with restoring the program’s proud defensive tradition.
There probably won’t be as much pressure to do it right away with arguably the best line in the nation in front and a skilled, veteran secondary behind them. But they should be able to get things back on track either way. Source: ESPN.com Inside Michigan-Ohio State: Linebackers August 7, 2012
Corey "Philly" Brown speaks after Tuesday's practice at Ohio State. August 7, 2012 Soucre: Scouting Ohio
Michael Bennett speaks after OSU's practice on Tuesday August 7, 2012 Soucre: Scouting Ohio
Fall Practice Insider: Offense is On Pace Per Herman August 8, 2012 Source: The Ozone - There is the belief that the Ohio State offense will go as far as quarterback Braxton Miller can take it. With Urban Meyer declaring Miller the most dynamic athlete he has ever had at quarterback, one could consider Miller a human HOV lane.
However, being just a sophomore, Miller has quite a ways to go yet. Still, he has been very impressive in practice throwing the ball, and hasn't really exhibited the issues that were commonplace for him last year.
Offensive coordinator Tom Herman said that the majority of Miller's throwing problems last year came from footwork issues, and as long as those issues remain resolved, then Miller is more than capable of being a very productive player...
Ohio State had its first full-squad practice of its 2012 preseason camp and head coach Urban Meyer spoke to reporters afterwards. August 6, 2012 Source: Scouting Ohio
Meyer: 'Yeah Right, Pal' August 6, 2012 Source: Bucknuts - Meyer has been especially harsh to his wide receivers when speaking to the media, but he's slowly warming up to them.
"Evan Spencer ran a 4.4-something during the summer," Meyer said. "But Evan Spencer has to run a 4.4 out there (on the field). There were some fast times that our strength coach gave me. Real fast times. But they don’t play that fast. So, our jobs as a coach is to get them to play fast.
"So, I’m hoping there’s enough here to get 'wowed’ a little bit. I thought that Devin did some things today that (were special). So, for the first time since I've been here – including all practices in the spring, so that’s 16, 17 practices – I had one. He ran a 9-route, a streak-route, and I mean it was ridiculous. And that’s what we need."
Speaking of defensive players that have caught Meyer's eye, he loves a true freshman linebacker that OSU was able to land late in the 2012 recruiting season.
"We have sayings around here like ‘Go from Point A to Point B as fast as you can,'" Meyer said. "There’s a kid here named Jamal Marcus who doesn’t know which way up is right now. But he knows about going from Point A to Point B and he’ll run over anything in his way to get to Point B. So, there’s a good chance we’ll find a way to get him on the field."...
That may seem like a strange approach for a coach, looking at faces instead of plays. But Meyer, hired to take over the NCAA-sanctioned program last November, was looking for signs of effort, grit and competition.
"Think about it, for all of us: It's just so easy to be average," Meyer said after the workout. "It's so easy to just be an average guy. Greatness isn't exactly (being an NFL) first-rounder. Now, I wouldn't mind a bunch of first-rounders, but greatness means we're going to try to push you to maximize who you are."...
Meyer said he can tell already that many players worked hard during the summer to get up to speed with a new coaching staff and a new system. One of them was quarterback Braxton Miller, who mixed brilliant moments with bad ones last year while he learned on the job as a freshman. Miller said he has worked long and hard on throwing the ball this summer.
"Just working in the offseason by myself and the receivers out here and indoors, working on my accuracy, stepping into my throws, things like that," he said. "Simple stuff."
At Monday night's practice, Miller sidled up to Meyer.
"Braxton had a really good day. And he feels good about it. And he made the comment to me that he knows what he's doing," Meyer said with a slight smile. "Well, he doesn't know yet. There's still a lot more to go. I winked at him and said, 'Yeah, right, pal.'"...
Meyer said he believed that first-year players might see a lot of action when the Buckeyes open the season on Sept. 1 at Ohio Stadium against Miami, Ohio: "From what I've seen so far, there'll be a bunch — OK, not a bunch, but a good chunk — of freshmen who'll play in that first game."...
Bri'onte Dunn was arrested late last month for a traffic violation, and a small amount of marijuana and a marijuana pipe were found in the car. But police in Alliance, Ohio, reduced the charges to disorderly conduct after determining the drug and paraphernalia were not his.
"We gave him a series of tests. I don't know if I'm allowed to give you everything, but everything came back (OK)," Meyer said. "He was honest with me. However, if there is some charge that sticks, then there'll be a penalty like all kids that have a charge."...
D-line Michael Bennett, Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel and John Simon.
LBs: WILL Ryan Shazier MIKE Curtis Grant (Curtis Grant missed practice to be with his ailing grandfather back in Virginia.) SAM Etienne Sabino
DBs CBs Bradley Roby Travis Howard; Ss Christian Bryant C.J. Barnett...
Young Buckeyes Look Promising Early August 7, 2012 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - To observe Ohio State's practice, even from afar and even without full pads, is to notice that more than a handful of players with "freshman" listed next to their names on the team roster look more like second-year NFL players than guys who just walked the stage at high school graduation eight weeks ago.
Meyer recruits well and promises nothing but opportunity. A few members of this highly-touted freshman class -- seven players were Scout.com top 100 prospects -- were on campus for spring football, but the bulk of the class has been here just a few weeks.
And this class has bulk. And muscle. And gifts.
"The best players are going to play," Meyer said. "There will be some freshmen (on the field). From what I've seen so far there will be a bunch -- maybe not a bunch, but a good chunk of freshmen playing that first game."
Opportunity. And a challenge...
When Meyer watches Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se'Von Pittman, just to name a few, he can realistically think about where this freshman class might one day go. Though he pointed out the Buckeyes "are just in shorts, so we'll see what he can do," he specifically mentioned Spence as a player who could fit in a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role...
Recruited as the 8th best linebacker in the country for the class of 2011, Shazier came on campus with many hoping he could become a solid outside linebacker. Shazier started the year off on special teams, but truly surpassed any expectations set by the coaching staff or the fans. Whether it was making bone-crushing tackles on kickoffs or blocking punts, Shazier got his chance to shine when the coaching staff promoted the freshman to starting linebacker.
In his first start, Shazier recorded 15 total tackles against Penn State, leading the team that night. A couple of days after, Shazier was honored with the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award. Shazier would finish out the year and despite suffering a torn MCL, the linebacker from Florida would finish out the year with 56 total tackles and 3 sacks.
In 2012, the hope is that Shazier is prepped to become the next great Buckeye linebacker in a long, historic list. Only a sophomore, Shazier has the capability to surpass many of the aforementioned linebackers, if he can stay healthy (and doesn't shine so bright so fast he has no other recourse but to go pro after his three years).
Barring any type of injury...there are plenty of reasons to have faith that Shazier can continue to rise as a dominant force for the Buckeye defense.
4. Corey "Philly" Brown, Wide Receiver
Coach Meyer has but a few select names that can claim the Pivot role in he and Tom Herman's spread-based offense. One of those names is junior Corey "Philly" Brown. Recruited as a 4-star athlete by Ohio State in the class of 2010, even then, "Philly" had started to gather some serious hype on the grounds of his elite level speed and versatile skill set. In high school, Brown played multiple roles for his team, rushing for over 3,000 yards as a running back and gaining over 1,500 yards through the air as a receiver.
Even before the introduction of Meyer as Ohio State's headman, Jim Tressel had fiddled with the notion of using Philly in a Percy Harvin-type role for his offensive strategies. Expectations rose again, after a solid freshman year in which Brown played all 13 games for Ohio State. Brown's efforts gave Terrelle Pryor another reliable set of hands and took some pressure off of the more often targeted DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher.
Whether or not you blame the offensive schemes, the inexperienced quarterback or having to deal with a nagging injury, Brown left much to be desired at the receiving position in 2011. Finishing the year playing in nine games, Brown managed only 14 receptions for 205 yards and one touchdown...
3. Jordan Hall, Running Back
The speedy back from Jeanette, Pennsylvania -- and how will we ever forget the announcers telling us every time Hall and teammate Terrelle Pryor took the field that the two went to the same school -- carried a heavy load for the Buckeyes last season up until Boom Herron returned from his suspension.
When Herron returned, Hall's role was no longer as the starting running back but instead not unlike a spread-type back for better use with Miller's abilities in the shotgun. Hall however still returned kickoffs and punts for the Buckeyes and was able to finish the year with 99 carries and 405 yards, along with two touchdowns.
Hall was also used sparingly in the slot role (something we expect the coaches to take full advantage of this year) as a receiver, where he caught 12 passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
Returning as one of the senior leaders, Hall's 2012 campaign could be a great one. Once Hall returns to wellness and is able to prove he can steer clear of the injury bug, there's plenty to be excited about in this coming season. While he's sidelined, Carlos Hyde and Bri'onte Dunn are the most likely candidates to replace him. Their potential ceilings may be just as high as Hall's (or in Dunn's case, potentially higher), but with the type of offense that Ohio State will be running, Hall could prove yet to be the perfect fit.
2. John Simon, Defensive End
The unquestioned leader of not only the defense but the team itself is John Simon. After a monstrous junior season with the Buckeyes, the possibilities for the defensive line as a whole are mind-blowing. Simon himself totaled 53 tackles with 17 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks.
Given the tumult of the past year and a half, you can bet Simon will enter the '12 season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and should become only the seventh two-time captain in Ohio State history this season. The last to do this was linebacker James Laurinaitis who was captain in 2007 and 2008. Simon was a third-team All-American in 2011 and has already consistently found himself in his new coach's good graces:
"He's revealed himself around here for many years," Meyer said. "This didn't just surface. I'm putting him in a category that, I've only coached one or two like him."
Tebow being one of them.
"I used the term Tebowish," Meyer said. "I've got to be careful not to do that. It should be Simonish. He's a next-level type player: leader, character, toughness, commitment.
"He's elite, elite."
In addition to the relentless work ethic, Simon's physical attributes are off the charts. The coaching staff actually had to hold Simon out of spring training drills and even most of the entire spring game because he was disrupting the offense too frequently...
1. Braxton Miller, Quarterback
Just try and find another person as vital to this team's success in 2012. While Meyer and Herman's offense does everything it can to emphasize the individual strengths of each of its components, it still requires a principle cog, which Miller epitomizes in spades...
Braxton Miller has every bit the potential to be the next in line in that great list of college quarterbacks. There's no doubt in our minds that Miller can be the leader of this offense and as he continues to learn under offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman. After earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, the potential is high for Miller to expand his knowledge of the game while continuing his growth as a quarterback.
Suffering an ankle injury last year against Nebraska might have caused Buckeye fans some serious anxiety as to whether or not Miller would be able to withstand the punishing blows of the Big Ten's best defenses. After finishing the year healthy, Miller would finish the year having completed 85/157 passes (good for a 54% completion percentage) for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions.
While his 4-6 record as a starter may not be much to take to the bank in the area of confidence, its almost a given the season would have been much worse without the quarterback from Huber Heights, Ohio under center. Urban Meyer knows the potential Miller's shown and intends to use his dual-threat capabilities to the fullest. The future of the Ohio State offense is looking bright and much of the praise headed Braxton Miller's way is 100% merited...
Braxton Miller after the first fall camp practice at Ohio State Source: ScoutingOhio
Miller Knows All Eyes On Him August 3, 2012 Source: Bucknuts - The Buckeyes opened fall camp today with the returning players arriving as early as 5 a.m. for a morning session. (The incoming freshmen are practicing this afternoon.)
Miller had a chance to meet with the media after that practice and was asked about having so much responsibility on his shoulders.
"I’m cool with it," he said. "I’m learning each and every day. You just don’t want to mess up. You feel like you have to do everything right, so that’s what I want to do. I want to do everything right and if I mess up I just have to correct it."
But can it be too much for a guy just starting his second year on campus?
"Nah, I love the pressure," Miller said. (In the video above, Miller talks about the first day and his high expectations.)...
Bradley Roby after the first fall camp practice at Ohio State Source: ScoutingOhio
Buckeyes want redemption in 2012 August 3, 2012 Source: News Herald - The Ohio State football team cannot change the past, but the Buckeyes feel they can at least make up for it.
With the first day of fall camp under his belt, sophomore defensive back Bradley Roby on Friday characterized the 2012 Buckeyes as hungry and ambitious. Even though NCAA sanctions will forbid the Buckeyes from competing for a Big Ten title and a bowl bid this season, the goal is clear.
"This is a redemption year," Roby said. "We know last year we didn't have that good of a year. So this year we're going to come out and show everybody why we're Ohio State."
Friday was the first preseason practice being held by first-year Coach Urban Meyer, leading up to the season opener on Sept. 1 against Miami (Ohio)...
Carlos Hyde after the first fall camp practice at Ohio State Source: ScoutingOhio
Hyde: My Time is Now August 3, 2012 Source: Bucknuts - The Buckeyes opened fall camp today with the returning players arriving as early as 5 a.m. for a morning session. (The incoming freshmen are practicing this afternoon.)
Junior Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde is determined and confident that he and his fellow Buckeye teammates are going to have a successful season even with the transition to a new coaching staff and having to deal with the consequences of having a postseason ban.
"Our goal is to go 12-0," the Naples, Fla., native said. "We can’t go to a bowl game but we still have to go out there and play. It feels like we have a chip on our shoulders without a bowl game.?
"We’re going to let the world know who the Buckeyes are this year."...
Inside Michigan-Ohio State: Defensive line August 6, 2012 Source: ESPN Buckeye Nation - Our "Inside the Game" positional previews with WolverineNation's Michael Rothstein and BuckeyeNation's Austin Ward continue in the trenches.
Ward and Rothstein discuss the contrast in the defensive lines. The Buckeyes could go as far as nine deep and believe they are among the nation's best units, while the Wolverines lost three-fourths of their top-notch line from a year ago, have another player on indefinite suspension and are unsettled at best.
Ward: The expectation up front for Ohio State is not just to be better than its rivals.
It’s not even to be the best in the conference.
The Buckeyes are going into this season with the goal of establishing themselves as the deepest and most talented group in the nation, and they certainly have a shot at building their case.
It helps to start at the top with the return of tireless, tenacious end John Simon and the emergence of Johnathan Hankins next to him as a force at defensive tackle, but there’s plenty more ammunition than that.
Garrett Goebel and Adam Bellamy round out the projected first unit, and even though he’s listed behind Hankins, Michael Bennett could be too disruptive in the middle to keep on the sideline. When Nathan Williams receives full clearance from his knee surgery, he could provide another scary weapon on the edge for a team that could conceivably roll through nine guys without a substantial drop-off.
On top of that, there’s a talented trio of newcomers who will fight to either be included or expand that rotation. Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se’Von Pittman gave Ohio State a recruiting haul in February that would make any program envious. And it figures to set up the Buckeyes not just for a good run in the trenches this fall, but also into the next few seasons.
Rothstein: On a team filled with current or former defensive line coaches -- besides Jerry Montgomery both head coach Brady Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison came up as defensive line coaches before assuming loftier titles -- there is a lack of a lot of things with their former pet position.
Experience, for one, is lacking as the line will boast three new starters and the one returning starter, senior Craig Roh, is adjusting to added weight and a new position as a strongside defensive end.
Depth is another issue, as the Wolverines could see multiple freshmen push for time on the line behind some of the inexperienced starters.
Will Campbell and Jibreel Black are the likely starters on the interior of the line, with Campbell being three years of promise without production and Black adding weight and learning to play inside after being converted from defensive end. At rush end, sophomore Brennen Beyer slides in as the likely starter after Frank Clark’s indefinite suspension due to legal issues.
Behind them are talented freshmen in Ondre Pipkins, Tom Strobel, Chris Wormley and Matt Godin -- all of whom could push for time. Nathan Brink provides some veteran stability at end and tackle, but the walk-on doesn’t have a ton of experience.
It’s a position full of questions at a spot where the Wolverines can’t really have them, as much of what Mattison likes to do on defense comes from the expectation of a defensive line getting pressure on a quarterback.
2012 Ohio State Buckeyes Movie Trailer - The Urban Renewal 'Renewed and Revived. The Buckeyes come back alive in 2012.' 82W Productions
Since the end of spring practice, Mickey Marotti, Ohio State’s assistant athletic director for football sports performance, has been in charge of getting the players ready for today. Veterans open camp with a 6 a.m. practice at the Harmon Family Football Park near the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Freshmen practice is at 5:15 p.m. Both practices are closed to the public and media...
Exactly what that team will be remains a bit of a mystery, even to Meyer. But he is determined to test his players’ mettle physically and mentally to find out. "It’s going to be a hard, physical camp," Meyer said. "I think they expect it."
Yes, they do. In fact, they seem to be embracing it.
"I hope it’s hard," senior defensive lineman John Simon said. "I hope it’s the hardest camp we’ve ever had. It’ll only make us better and prepare us for the season. I know with our senior leadership, we’re going to keep that enthusiasm high and positive, and it’ll spread throughout the whole team. We’re going to make the most out of this training camp."
Meyer said at the start of spring practice that he hoped to have starters settled in April because preseason camp would be devoted to preparing for the Sept. 1 opener against Miami University and beyond.
But much remains unsettled, complicated by some summer problems.Projected starting running back Jordan Hall suffered a torn tendon in his foot when he stepped on glass and will be out until September. Tight end Jake Stoneburner and left tackle Jack Mewhort (at least temporarily) lost their scholarships after a minor legal scrape and still are working to get back in Meyer’s good graces. Storm Klein’s dismissal from the team after a domestic-violence charge hurt depth from an already thin linebacking group.
Hall’s absence is especially painful because the Buckeyes are short on proven playmakers for sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller. Ohio State’s passing game ranked 115th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in 2011.
"Those kids around him have to improve," Meyer said. "He has to improve. Our whole season is banked on that. We have to be able to throw the ball."
Meyer’s arrival has revitalized the psyche of a program demoralized by the prolonged NCAA scandal that cost Jim Tressel his job.
Some prognosticators are predicting greatness for the 2012 team. Meyer had a firm reaction when told that some have forecast a 10-0 start to the season. "If those kids hear them, then I’ve got to beat it out of them the first week of training camp," Meyer said. "I can promise you after day four that they’re not going to be worried about going 10-0. They’re going to be worried about getting to day five. It’s going to be a really, really hard training camp."
Ohio State: 10 reasons to be excited in 2012 August 2, 2012 Source: BTN - 1. The Urban-a-tor. Is there a better coach in America not named Nick Saban? Of course not. Urban Meyer brings instant credibility and a national championship resume to Columbus. He already has impacted as a recruiter. And you can bet his effect on the field this fall will be every bit as powerful for a program that is priming the pump for tomorrow.
2. Hungry and angry. That best describes Ohio State, as it embarks on a season shrouded in NCAA sanctions that will keep the Buckeyes from competing for the Big Ten title or playing in a bowl. But that doesn’t mean Ohio State will lack motivation to have the best record in the league. With games vs. Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State, the Buckeyes will have a big say on who wins the title.
3. Braxton Miller. Urban Meyer has been effusive in his praise of the sophomore signal-caller. Miller is a wondrous mixture of athletic talents who endured a baptism of fire last season—and held up well. He hit 54.1 percent of his passes for 1,159 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran 159 times for 715 yards and seven scores. Miller must quickly embrace the new spread scheme to improve what was the worst passing game in the Big Ten last season (127.0 ypg).
4. Secondary. There may not be a better collection of defensive backs in the Big Ten. All four starters are back, led by the junior safety duo of C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant. And the cornerback tandem of senior Travis Howard and Bradley Roby also is excellent. Keep an eye on Roby, who was a sensation as a redshirt freshman last season. The corners have embraced the new scheme, which calls for less press coverage and more play on the ball.
5. D-line. Massive tackle Johnathan Hankins is one of the top NFL prospects in the Big Ten. The 317-pound junior is a wrecking ball inside. Senior end John Simon epitomizes everything Urban Meyer loves in a football player from leadership and work ethic standpoints. Simon also is a whale of a talent who plays like his hair is on fire. The return of senior end Nathan Williams from an early-season 2011 knee injury will amp up the pass rush. And a group of touted incoming freshmen (Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, Tommy Schutt, Se’Von Pittman) will make this unit even more formidable.
6. Improved linebackers. This unit was maligned at times in 2011, as there was a lack of playmaking ability and dynamic edge. That may be changing. Sophomore Ryan Shazier looks like a future star after turning heads as a true freshman last season. It’s now or never for Etienne Sabino, a senior who still is looking to reach his potential. Perhaps a new-found sense of urgency will help. Curtis Grant is ready to blossom on the inside as a sophomore after arriving on campus amid massive hype.
7. Schedule. It’s built for success. All four non-conference games are at home, with the toughest being vs. Cal. A 4-0 start would set up a huge Big Ten opener at Michigan State. Win that, and the Buckeyes may be able to start dreaming of—perhaps—an unbeaten season? Maybe? Possibly?
8. Jake Stoneburner. Keep an eye on the 6-5, 245-pound senior tight end. Stoneburner will be a weapon on third downs and in the red zone. Last season, he made just 14 catches. But seven of them went for touchdowns. Expect more of the same this fall.
9. Kicking game. The duo of kicker Drew Basil and punter Ben Buchanan should be among the best in the conference. Basil is Mr. Automatic, not missing a field-goal attempt of less than 40 yards last season. Buchanan has a big leg and a knack for downing the ball inside the 20-yard line.
10. Strong staff. Not only is Urban Meyer a top-notch coach who won national championships at Florida in 2006 and 2008, but he also has assembled a boffo staff. Retaining last year’s interim head coach Luke Fickell as defensive coordinator was key. Meyer then lured Everett Withers from North Carolina to help coordinate the defense. He was the Tar Heels’ interim head coach last season. The offensive staff is led by coordinators Tom Herman, one of the nation’s brightest young coaches, and Ed Warinner, a sage mind who also excels coaching the offensive line...
With all due respect to Penn State, one could make a legitimate argument that Ohio State has taken the title of 'Linebacker U' over the past 15 years. The Buckeyes reputation for possessing great linebackers, however, took a hit a season ago when starters Etienne Sabino, Storm Klein, and Andrew Sweat struggled against both the run and the pass.
With Klein and Sweat both now gone from the program, it will be up to a pair of sophomores in Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant to return the Ohio State linebacking corps back to prominence.
"Ryan has shown a lot of commitment, is one of the biggest things I think he's shown. Obviously last year he was a lot smaller. I think he's up to about 230 now. He still runs like a gazelle," Sabino said. "Curtis has done like a 360 as far as from when he came in to where he's at now. As far as his approach and his demeanor, his work ethic I feel and just everything. I'm just excited to play with those guys. I have all the confidence in the world in the both of them."
2. How early will Noah Spence contribute?
Despite not taking over until late November, Meyer managed to rescue to the 2012 Ohio State recruiting class, and a big reason for that was his ability to land Spence, the No. 1 rated defensive end in the country. Considering the 2011 Buckeyes lacked a consistent pass rush, there's a good chance that the 6-foot-4, 245-pound end could step in and play right away in 2012.
Defensive end John Simon said he wouldn't be surprised to see both Spence and true freshman Adolphus Washington contribute immediately for the Buckeyes.
"They all have the potential. With the work ethic that they've shown any one of them can, if not all of them," Simon said of the freshmen defensive linemen. "They're extremely motivated and highly enthusiastic about playing football for Ohio State."
3. Who else will rush the passer?
While Simon has a firm grip on one defensive end slot, it remains to be seen who will be joining him on the other side. One candidate is Adam Bellamy, who showed promise in 2011. Another is sophomore Steve Miller, who has impressed Simon with the improvements he's made this past offseason.
"Steve may have had the best offseason out of anyone on our team. You know, I love Stevie, and just working with him every day and seeing his dedication," Simon said. "We're always working out together and he's going to have a big season."
4. Is Bradley Roby the real deal?
As a redshirt freshman a season ago, Roby burst on to the scene, solidifying himself as the Buckeyes' top corner. His improvement this offseason has often been touted by the OSU coaching staff and the media that covers the Buckeyes, but he is yet to gain the national recognition that most elite corners at Ohio State have received.
If Roby is going to make that leap from local star to superstar, it will start with this fall camp, where the redshirt sophomore will have to establish himself as the leader of the Ohio State secondary.
5. Who will start opposite Roby?
The one true position battle still ongoing on the defensive side of the ball heading into fall camp is on the other side of the secondary, where incumbent Travis Howard is battling with Doran Grant to start alongside Roby.
While Howard appears to have the advantage thanks to his experience as a starter in 2011, the fact that the sophomore Grant was listed as a co-starter with the fifth-year senior exiting spring practice can only be viewed as a positive sign for his chances in the position battle.
6. Will Nathan Williams return?
One of the biggest blows suffered by the 2011 Ohio State defense came in the season-opener, when defensive end suffered a knee injury that required him to undergo arthroscopic and microfracture surgery. The fifth-year senior has been working diligently to return for the Buckeyes in 2012, and Simon expects to see him playing again some time this fall.
"I see Nate every day and he's working extremely hard, a couple hours a day every day in that rehab room to get back as fast as he can," Simon said. "He'll be back very soon, and we're looking forward to it."
7. What impact will the return of Luke Fickell have?
Another loss to last year's Buckeyes defense came when Fickell was named the Buckeyes' interim head coach and was forced to divert some of his attention from the side of the ball he know's best. With Meyer's arrival, Fickell is back serving as the Buckeyes' co-defensive coordinator, and the Ohio State defense is glad to have him back.
"Any time you can put Coach Fick's full attention on defense, it's a scary thing," Simon said. "You add him with the coaching staff that we have on the defensive side of the ball, the game plans are going to be awesome, it's going to be up for us to players to execute them."
8. What will happen to the star position?
For the first time since 2006, the Buckeyes are lacking an ideal player to play their linebacker-defensive back hybrid 'star' position. Formerly occupied by speedy linebackers-turned-safeties Jermale Hines and Tyler Moeller, it remains to be seen whether Fickell will keep the 'star' position as a part of the Ohio State defense.
One possible candidate to play the 'star' is safety Christian Bryant, who despite being smaller than his predecessors at the position, saw some time playing the position in 2010.
9. How versatile can they be?
Between the 'star' position and defensive end-linebacker hybrids such as Williams, the past Buckeye defenses have provided great flexibility for Fickell. Past Ohio State teams have been capable of playing both 4-3 and 3-4 looks, and whether or not this year's team can do the same will depend on the development of its personnel this fall.
"That versatility really helps us I think. Because then every offensive lineman has to prepare for a multitude of different players," Simon said. "One guy might be more of a power guy, the other might be a speed guy. And that change up is probably like seeing a fastball to to a change-up."
10. What happened last year?
Despite all of the questions that this season's defense will face, one basic question must be asked: what happened a year ago when the Buckeyes defense looked nothing like the Silver Bullets of past years?
The Buckeyes' leader on the defensive side of the ball, Simon has a theory.
"That's one of our big emphasis' as a defensive senior unit; we want to finish and start fast. Maybe some games we played a great second and third quarter, and the first and fourth weren't good, or vice-versa, we started fast and finished strong but in the middle we got lost somewhere," Simon said. "We're really trying to put together a complete game, every game, and that'll help us be successful."...
2012 Ohio State Buckeye Pump Up Video Aug 3, 2012 Source: stugotsIII
Ryan Shazier: Ohio State OLB Ready to Dispell Myths, Terrorize Opponents August 1, 2012 Source: Bleacher Report - At 6'3", 205 pounds, his measurables didn't exactly scream future NFL star. The recruiting sites liked him, but they didn't love him. Rivals.com had him as the 14th-best outside linebacker prospect in the country, but when the recruiting site named nine of OSU's recruits to their Rivals Top 250 for 2011, Shazier's name was left off the list.
You might want to note that. Shazier is not the first, and he won't be the last to make us re-evaluate the importance of these so-called "expert recruiting sites."
Something screamed out from the highlight tape—speed! That nasty old word that sportscasters use to describe why Ohio State is losing to an SEC team. The Buckeyes could have six turnovers and lose their best three players to injury, but the reason their team is losing is, always and forever, speed.
We know what speed is. We're football watchers. Ted Ginn Jr., Joey Galloway, Santonio Holmes, Anthony Gonzalez and Chris Gamble had some speed. I know the rest of the football world thinks that Ohio State recruits from a very small Island in the Pacific called Turtle Isle, but nothing could be further from the truth...
Mickey Marotti, Ohio State's new strength coach under Urban Meyer, has packed 20 pounds of muscle to Ryan's frame. Nowadays, Ryan is weighing-in at about 226. He claims that he's faster.
Not every college football fan learns much from the Scarlet and Gray pregame, but when Shazier manhandled the 6'4", 235-pound Etienne Sabino in the two-man hamburger drill before the game, Ohio State fans took notice...
Obviously, Buckeyes fans have huge expectations for the true sophomore. Maybe that has something to do with getting 15 tackles in your first start (Game 11, Penn St.), or maybe it's just watching this kid run sideline to sideline.
It might have been the key blocked punt he had against Wisconsin that led to a touchdown, or it could have been the three tackles he had on a key goal-line stand against Penn State. Either way, keep your eyes on No. 10 for Ohio State this year.
"He's going to be an unbelievable linebacker at Ohio State. There's no doubt about that" - Former OSU DC Jim Heacock to The Buckeye Times*...
'Grandpa' Sabino Leads Linebackers August 1, 2012 Source: Bucknuts - When Etienne Sabino looks around his linebacker meeting room at Ohio State, he doesn’t find any scholarship players that are close to his age or experience level.
That makes him the leader of a small group that includes himself as a fifth-year senior as well as two sophomores and as many as six freshmen. (Senior walk-on Stewart Smith, a converted defensive end, is also in that group.)
"I feel like the grandfather in the room," Sabino said. "It’s cool. I look around and I say, ‘Man, I didn’t come in with any of these guys.’ But I like being around them. They are a funny bunch. They do some things that I just die laughing. When it’s time to work, we go do it. But we have fun."
The 6-3, 237-pound Sabino is the elder statesman of this reloading linebacker group. He lost out to Andrew Sweat in a bid to start in 2010 and took a redshirt year. That allowed him to come back this season as a fifth-year senior. He started five games last year as a junior, finishing fifth on the team in tackles with 62. He also had two sacks and 6-1/2 tackles-for-loss. He is listed as the starter at the strongside spot going into fall camp.
He was a backup over his first two seasons at OSU. He had six tackles as a sophomore in 2009. He enrolled early for spring practice in 2008 after graduating from Miami Krop High School, where he was a national top-100 prospect. He played on special teams and as a backup player in 2008 as a freshman. He had six tackles as a freshman.
"My career has been not by the books as most people would say," Sabino said. "But that’s in the past for me. I’m excited to be where I’m at. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d still come to Ohio State and everything that has happened, I love it here...
Sabino likes the idea of working again with Luke Fickell as his linebackers coach. Last year, Fickell was OSU’s head coach and Mike Vrabel stepped in as the linebackers coach. Urban Meyer retained Fickell as his defensive coordinator/linebackers coach with Vrabel moving to the defensive line job.
"The great thing about Coach Fickell is he’s not going to change," Sabino said. "Whether he is bothered by something or not, his demeanor is not going to change. Coach Fickell is very straightforward. With his honesty, he is going to tell you if he doesn’t like something. He has the same mind-set as Coach Meyer. If you act like a man, he will treat you like a man...
Etienne Sabino speaks at the Big Ten media days in Chicago
The Block O of Life, a set of six core principles for the Ohio State program, is displayed prominently in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Players and coaches pass it each day in the main corridor connecting the meeting rooms from the weight room.
The Block O is divided into two categories: purpose and goals. Each player's purpose is defined by three elements: personal/family, spiritual/morals and caring and giving. Each player also has three goals in the program: academics/career, strength and fitness and football performance.
Former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel brought the display to Columbus. The different values are the building blocks for the program and guide players through their playing careers and their lives. August 1, 2012 Source: ESPN